by Mark Edwards
The dreaded “white out” awaits Harbaugh & Co. this weekend in Happy Valley. Does it lend itself to a great atmosphere? Absolutely. Will it be the loudest atmosphere that Michigan will play in this year? Maybe. Will Michigan be prepared for it as best they can? Yes. But here’s the real deal…any coach will tell you that the adjustment period is a play or two. Then, the white-wearing, fantatics will be entertaining themselves and those of us on television. In terms of impact, the white out will have very little. Michigan plays in front of 115,000 people every home game.
Can John O’Korn put it together? The answer has to be “show me.” I think the clamoring for Brandon Peters has subsided because it’s been obvious that Harbaugh doesn’t think that is the best option.
Can Michigan run the ball? Penn State’s defense does a great job limiting big plays. Michigan has two running backs who average over 5.5 yards per carry. Something has to give. My best guess is that Michigan will hit some runs but the Indiana formula to success won’t ultimately help Michigan win.
Can the passing game make enough plays down the field? It better. Penn State will crowd the line of scrimmage and make Michigan go downfield. I expect Peoples-Jones and Gentry to be given opportunities. You recruit players to make plays.
How does the Michigan defense handle Barkley? I think they will keep in mostly in check in the run game. A few runs will pop but none will be Heisman candidacy worthy. The concern is the pass game. I think Deving Bush Jr. will become the blitzer and Hudson will be the Barkley coverage man. Look for Dr. Blitz to bring his most exotic plan. Why Hudson? He’s a linebacker already and that will not allow Penn State to formation him into a mismatch in the run defense.
Can McSorely win the game for Penn State? He’ll have to because I really expect the Michigan defense to play their best game of the year. He may get some scrambles but his arm vs. the pass coverage will decide this one.
FINAL SCORE: Penn State 27, Michigan 21 (I hope I’m wrong.)
PICKS TO CLICK: Offense – Zach Gentry, Defense – Khaleke Hudson
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 3. But my Hope level would be a 7. Confidence is a scary thing.
ONE THING THAT MAY SURPRISE: Michigan will score a defensive touchdown.
ONE THING THAT MAY DISAPPOINT:
Trace McSorely will have two scrambles that will decide the game.